A survey by the Small Business Majority concluded that two-thirds of small businesses believe owners shouldnâ€™t be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Of the 500 businesses surveyed online, 55 percent of Republican and 62 percent of those identifying as Christian small business opposed denying people service on the basis of the ownerâ€™s religious convictions, The Hill reported.
When asked about wedding services specifically, 55 percent said they donâ€™t believe business should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples. Overall, 59 percent said they oppose laws that would allow businesses or individuals to not serve people based on their personal religious beliefs.
According to a press release from Small Business Majority, 47 percent of respondents identified as Republicans, 33 percent as Democrats and 19 percent as independents. The respondents also came from a variety of faith traditions.
â€śOur customers are people from all types of backgrounds who are newly engaged and excited about their future,â€ť said Michelle Payton, owner of the Bride's Shoppe in Great Falls, Montana, told Small Business Majority. â€śPeople in love are the people that keep us in business, so it makes good business sense to offer my services to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. Additionally, serving LGBT people is in line with our philosophy of helping all of our customers make their dreams come true.â€ť
Dr. Laura E. Durso, director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, was optimistic about the reportâ€™s conclusions and what it could mean for employees.
â€śThe results of this poll reinforce that business owners see little conflict between expressing their religious beliefs and supporting LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections,â€ť she said. â€śTreating LGBT workers and customers fairly is not only morally right, but also good for business, which is why its past time for Congress to pass a comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination act.â€ť
John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority, echoed the sentiment about serving gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual customers. â€śAs these results make clear, our nationâ€™s biggest job creators support policies that are fair and inclusive to all customers and employees,â€ť he said.